Blog or Not?

A statistically improbable polymath's views on politics and culture.

Saturday, April 30, 2005

I am:
"You're a tax-and-spend liberal democrat. People like you are the reason everyone else votes for guys like Reagan or George W."

Are You A Republican?

Friday, April 29, 2005
Best. Activism. Ever.
This definitely ties with the World's Longest Protest Physics Lecture--here's the full story from Talking Points Memo and Sean Carroll.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005
I think my friend's dad worked on this
As you all know, Blog or Not? is committed to delivering information on the latest scientific developments. This one is super-awesome, and even better, is from Oak Ridge, TN, where I grew up.

And science marches on.

Saturday, April 23, 2005
Perennial Optimist
I'm beginning to feel a bit optimistic about Benedict XVI--mainly because he likes cats and cats like him. I figure that has to be a good sign.

Thursday, April 21, 2005
Those who would destroy liberty to preserve democracy
deserve neither.

Brooks' latest:
"The fact is, the entire country is trapped. Earl Warren and his colleagues suppressed that democratic integration debate the nation needs to have. The poisons have been building ever since. You can complain about the incivility of politics, but you can't stop the escalation of conflict in the middle. You have to kill it at the root. Unless Brown v. Board is overturned, politics will never get better."

Okay, Brooks didn't write that. I actually substituted "Earl Warren" for "Harry Blackmun", "integration" for "abortion", and "Brown v. Board" for "Roe v. Wade". And to be fair, Brooks probably favors Brown v. Board. But his logic is faulty. If the Republican Party really wanted to ban abortion, or at least make it a states' issue, they could introduce a constitutional amendment into the House and Senate. Just because Alabama wants jurisdiction inside a woman's uterus doesn't mean the federal government has to grant it to them.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005
Chicago Chick
There walks amongst us a distributor of Jack Chick tracts.

I saw two stacks of them at the front of the Reynolds' Club tonight, and thumbed through one of the tracts, "The Executioner"--relatively inoffensive, as it didn't invoke the Proctocols of the Elders of Zion or call the Pope the Antichrist*. Just a story about an asshole who goes to death row for murdering a guy but whose mother chooses to die in his place, and then "Accept Christ Now!" I actually didn't feel contaminated by bigotry after reading it.

But still, the appearance of conversion tracts among the art-show postcards and copies of the Maroon is a bit odd. Are students distributing these things? Probably not--that sort of thing is a bad cultural fit with our student population. It's probably some random religious zealot--unless Jack Chick Publications found out about the 2003 Scavhunt item "A Jack Chick tract castigating the University of Chicago" and decided to take revenge try and save our souls.

*Let's withhold judgment on Benedict XVI for now, okay?

Thursday, April 14, 2005
A couple of days ago I was chatting with some friends when the Terri Schiavo case was brought up. One girl noted that it would've been weird had Ms. Schiavo been pregnant while in a persistant vegetative state.

Suddenly it all became clear:
Terri Schiavo was a womb unconnected to a will. Unfortunately for many of the more militant pro-lifers, most wombs tend to be connected to some sort of human individual with her own ideas about life. Now, outlawing abortion is one thing--but will it stop abortions? Not entirely--the rich will go to Mexico, the middle class will use herbal concontions, and the poor will ask their boyfriends to hit them in the stomach.

Really, the only way to make sure a woman won't have an abortion is to make her a prisoner. But guards can yield to sympathy or be bribed with sex or money. The only way to ensure that a person is truly imprisoned is to remove all control of her body from her--including ways to communicate. That is, to put her in a permanent vegetative state. It's better than The Handmaid's Tale.

Why would people who profess to be for life be for such a thing? Let's not kid ourselves--do you really think Tom DeLay is interested in life? He's interested in control. What better way is there to control someone from the time they're born than to start when they're conceived?

I realize that this thought experiment is unlikely to occur. However, it's probably closer to the desires of the radical theocrats than the "eliminate God in all facets of life agenda" is to leftists' desires.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005
And now for a word from Rome...
Catholic canon law states that if the cardinals so choose, anyone who can become a priest or a bishop can become pope--that is, every non-married Catholic male on the planet. That's a lot of candidates--far more than the 118 voting cardinals everyone agrees makes up the "remotely possible" field, of which only about ten or fifteen are in the "will actually get votes" field*.

But everyone's focused on the likely candidates. Let's examine some of the more-famous candidates of the former group, shall we?

Bono--Wait. He's married, and he might not even be baptized Catholic. But wouldn't Bono make a great pope? It's time the Irish got a pope, and Bono is a great humanitarian and musician who's certainly very popular in both the First World and the Third World. On a more frivolous note, his papal name is a no-brainer, his sunglasses would look great with the miter, and The Edge could serve as papal secretary of state.

Fr. Andrew Greeley--Actually is eligible, and has already been ordained, so being made a bishop shouldn't be any problem. Like the previous pope, he's intellectually-inclined and a best-selling author; moreover, he's made firm moral statements on sexual abuse within the Church and the war in Iraq. Plus, he's promised to resign after making a few small adjustments in canon law (extending the priesthood to women, making priestly celibacy optional, that sort of thing... nothing really bearing on the teachings of Christ). After a twenty-six year long papacy, it'll be nice to have a short one.

A member of the Kennedy family--Following the grand tradition of the great families of Italy each having a go at the papacy, perhaps the cardinals should start with the great families of other nations. We'll start with the Kennedys, but we can then move onto the von Hapsburgs, the Grimaldi, etc. If the Church wants to be imperial, let it BE imperial!

*The full membership of this field will be known only to God and the cardinals who count the votes; however, early exit polls suggest Cardinal Francis Arinze of Nigeria will probably be in this field.